Kevin Polansky Memorial Fund

Many have asked if there was a memorial setup for my Dad - Kevin Polansky. Knowing him he would have wanted any contributions to go towards the swimming community.  Funds will be used to improve swimming facilities in Northern Colorado.

You may also send donations via regular mail. Please make checks payable to  "Kevin Polansky Memorial Fund" and address to:

Matt Polansky
5621 Mid Pointe Dr
Windsor, CO 80550

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR DONATIONS!

Kevin Polansky: Obituary & Tribute
January 6, 2018


Kevin Polansky died suddenly on the morning of January 6, 2018 while swimming with his master's club in the pool where he had coached and swam since the 1970s. He died doing what he loved. Kevin was defined by water, by aquatics and all things wet. He was a water hound. He swam, coached, announced swim meets, and enjoyed fluid libations. He was a man of expansive tastes with the heart of Phar Lap. Kevin always rode his bike fast, swam far, lived large, & loved with all his heart. He was generous, boisterous, humble, brash, and kindhearted. Whatever he did, he did with heart and soul. He had many nicknames: Pole-man, King Fish, Pol-cat, just Kev, or Squid which he used as an affectionate moniker for his young swimmers.
Kevin Polansky was born in 1950 in Mason City, Iowa. His parents were Vic and Nell Polansky. Kevin was born with a medical diagnosis of “clubfoot” but he never let it slow him down in his quest for a life rich in experience. He started swimming with the local YMCA and then graduated to the high school program under the guidance of Willis Colville. Coach Colville became a mentor for Kevin, as he was for many of us as well. Coach Colville taught us integrity, discipline, and the value of hard work. He was the most influential “teacher” that many of us had in high school, college, or graduate school. Kevin often attributed the influence of Willis Colville to his decision to become a coach and guide the lives of young swimmers and athletes. And to keeping him walking the “straight and narrow”. Kevin was a good swimmer in high school. He finished in the top 6 at the Iowa state high school swim meet. He held school records in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly. He graduated from Mason City high school in 1968. He went on to swim at a division III college in Wisconsin for a year and then transferred to Mankato State University where he was captain of his team and most valuable swimmer in 1972-73. He was inducted into the MSU Swimming Hall of Fame a few years ago and promptly dedicated his award to coach Colville.
I drove with Kevin in his robins-egg blue VW super Beetle to Boulder, Colorado in the summer of 1973. Our bikes were draped precariously on the back of the bug and barely cleared the pavement but we had a spectacular cross-country trip. Kevin was immediately enamored with the Rocky Mountains. After finishing his master's degree at the University of Colorado he moved to Loveland, married his high school sweetheart, Marcia Mulford, had two sons, and never left. While there he taught physical education and coached swimming for over 20 years. He had multiple state champ teams and was Colorado high school swim coach of the year four times. He later started Polansky Financial Group in his passion to help people secure financial health and personal wealth. His Facebook postings were captivating and are still viewed with tenderness.
He helped establish the Loveland Masters swim club in 1978. He soon became a legend in the US Masters Swimming (USMS) community with multiple national and world masters swim titles and records. He competed in open water swims all over the world including the Waikiki Rough Water swim and the Maui Channel Swim. I remember watching him win the 200 free-style at the USMS short course national meet in 1994 in Fort Lauderdale at the Swimming Hall of Fame pool. It was a top dog heat filled with ringer's and former NCAA swimmers now in the 40-44-year-old age group. I remember at the time thinking how amazing it was that this guy, my old high school team mate, from the bucolic northern prairies of Iowa had beaten this heat of great swimmer's. That he had the hutzpah to go into the den of the swimming Gods and emerge victorious. And he did it often in those decades! He beat a former Hawaii Ironman Champ in a pool event once, and at the end of the race looked over across the lane line to flash his broad smile, and with this finger cocked like a pistol said, “Gotcha Cowboy”. Kevin had the confidence to take chances, to risk failure, and often succeeded where others were afraid to test their fortune.
 
In 2003 Polansky delivered the eulogy for our mentor, coach Willis Colville. Polansky's words of praise for his own beloved coach now echo as a eulogy for himself. In asking what tribute one creates for an individual who has inspired so many, Kevin looked out at the congregation of swimmers and friends who had traveled back, from all over the nation, gathered to honor this mentor and guide, and recited the requiem to Sir Christopher Wren, architect of St. Paul's Cathedral. “If you seek a memorial… look about you”. And so, the student become the teacher, the swimmer became the coach, and proved that the influence of one extraordinary person can indeed change lives, move the world, and perhaps lead us to accomplishments once unimagined. He dropped a pebble in the pond and the ripple was felt on a distant shore; with time the genesis of the deed will no longer be remembered. But it is now our time, our privilege, to remember Kevin Polansky, to rest the laurel on his brow, as a devoted friend, inspirational coach, and mentor who gave us things to dream about and the challenge to be a better person in this all too fragile world.
Kevin was preceded in death by his parents, a sister JoAnn, a brother Jerry, and his son Mark who passed away three months ago in October 2017. He is survived by his ex-wife Marcia Mulford, his son Matthew, brother Paul, his twin sister Kathy, and twin siblings, brother Rick and sister Vicky, and his partner Renée of Loveland Colorado.
Kevin swam almost every day. He sometimes seemed more amphibian than man. He died as he lived, boldly, courageously, and embraced by the element he loved most, God's sacred elixir of water. There are bookends to all our lives. Sometimes we are reminded of that poignantly when one of our heroes dies before his or her time. Marcus Aurelius wrote that “a man's life is dyed the color of his imagination”. Kev's life was the color of water. Travel safe, old friend.
Ralph S. Bovard and MCHS swim friends


KEVIN'S IMPRESSIVE RESUME:

Coaching:

-Coached 15 conference champion teams for women. 

-Men I think it was 7-9 or so

-Voted coach of the year for Colorado on 4 different occasions and was second on two others.  This was the most over a 18 year span as a head coach and still is. (Voted on by my coaching peers).

-Had several individual state champions, Shawn Rowland, John Keppler, Sue Smith the Rowland was a 5 time champion and Keppler was a 4 time state champion and Sue won 2 individually.

Rowland's victories were state records in 3 events and Keppler in 2 events.

-Relay state champions for Women the 200 MR two years in a row

-Relay state champions for Men the 200 MR 2 years in a row and held record for about 12-15 years

-Team placing at state was runner-up several times in a 1 classification system 2 for Women and 3 for Men. Had they been in a 2 classification system I would have had 5 state championship teams.

-Win loss record for women over 90% wins

-Win loss record for men around 82%

Total- about an 88% winning ratio combined

-Never had a losing season in Men or Women

-President of Colorado High School Swimming Coaches Association for 4 years and Secretary/Treasurer for 13 years. Started in the hole and left it with over $30 K in the bank

- Ran the state HS invitational for both Women and Men 17 years in a row.

 

Swimming:

-Swam masters competitively from 1980-1995. Place top 10 nationally in nearly all my races, only missing 3 times out of a possible 140 races.  Was National Champion at least 20 times and World Champion 5 times and World Masters Game Champion 5 times.  Held 13 world records at age 40 with them all being world records as well as national records – both short course meters and long course meters.  Earned Swimmer of the year for age 40-45 in 1991. Was a masters All-American 1980-95 and in 2007 when I came out of retirement and raced.

-Was on United States Masters Long Distance committee for 10 years and VP of Colorado Masters for 2 years.

- Have swam the length of Horsetooth (7 miles about 30 times) over the years

- Raced the Maui Channel Swim as a relay member that got 2nd place(2003) and swam it solo and won my age group 55+ and was 6th over-all in the solo competition (in 2005) total distance raced 12-13 miles in 4 hours and 26 minutes.

-Swam the Waikiki Open water swim and was top 10 in my age group (50-55) and top 100 out of 1500 swimmers in 2003.

Was the 1st swimmer to be inducted in to Minnesota State University Hall of Fame in 1992 for my swimming and coaching accomplishments.

-Started the Loveland Masters Swimming Program in 1978.  In 1980 started the 1st Masters Sweetheart Masters meet and ran that for 10 years.  It is the longest continually run masters meet in the state other than the State Masters Meet. This was the 37th year!

Have remained swimming all my life.  This will be my 43rd year swimming in Lake Loveland in the early morning hours. (Started the Lake Loveland Open Water Men’s Swim club in 1975).  I estimate I’ve logged over 9,000 miles swimming the lake over the past 42 years in the summer.

 

Officiating:

Became an official for the NCAA in 1980 and have announced or started all CSU swimming meets since then….well over 100 home meets.

-Have started the NCAA Division II  National Championships meets on separate occasions.

-Have announced the NCAA Division II Nationals Championships 23 out of the last 25 years………..longest running official in swimming  history for Division II.

-Have announced numerous college invitational and conference meets for the last 25 years (at least 5 per year)

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Organizer

Matt Polansky 
Organizer
Loveland, CO
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